Buttonweed, Cheeseplant, Cheeseweed, Dwarf
Mallow and Roundleaf Mallow
– Mallow family
A deep rooted herbaceous perennial which can
grow to a height of 1 foot. The stems are trailing.
Can grow 8 - 24 inches tall, but generally
a spreading plant.
The leaves are rounded, toothed, wavy, and
slightly lobed. There are typically 5 - 7 lobes on each leaf,
making them resemble small green coffee filters, or upside down
umbrellas. The leaves grow alternate, and are mucilaginous
(slimy) when crushed.
On older plants, the trailing stems can become quite
thick, and long.
Deep often forked taproot
distinct, regular, funnel shaped, with 5 distinct petals,
and 3 - 5 partially united sepals. Often surrounded by
several bracts. Flowers can be white to pink or lavender
tinged. There are numerous stamens united to form a
distinctive column around the pistil.
The ovary is positioned superior, and is
chambered, and is the reason for the common name cheeses, as it
resembles a wheel of cheese.
This unassuming little plant is a
powerhouse when it comes to edible and medicinal value. There are over 85 genera in the Malvaceae
family, with over 1500 species. Most have the same medicinal and
edible properties. Although often considered a weed, this
plant is reportedly consumed as a food. This is especially
true of the seeds, which contain 21% protein and 15.2% fat.
Yards, fields, and waste areas, dry areas.
Entire plant including seeds (cheeses)
Wild Food Uses:
The highly nutritious leaves and flowers can be eaten raw,
or used as a cooked vegetable, or in soups. They are also dried and
added to smoothies and other drinks. As with Okra, Mallow is a
mucilaginous plant which can be used to thicken soups and sauces.
The cheeses are a wonderful snack that can be eaten raw right
from the yard.
The following text is
meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or
treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other
qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of
any illness or injury.
A wash can be made from the leaves and root
of this plant, which is an excellent treatment for sunburn, as
well as other minor burns or skin irritations. Leaf, flower, and or root tea is very soothing
to the throat and lungs, as well as the digestive tract. It is has
been used to soothe irritated mucus membranes. The tea is also
used to treat angina, coughs, bronchitis, and stomachaches. Root
extracts have been shown to be an effective treatment for
tuberculosis. This is one of my favorite demulcent plants. I love to add Malva neglecta to Verbascum thapsus.
The resulting mixture is highly effective at toning mucus
membranes of the sinuses, throat, and lungs. My favorite recipe is
to boil 1/3 cup each of dried Mallow and Mullein in 4 cups of
water for about 15 minutes. I then pour the mixture through a
strainer to remove the plant material, and then give a final
strain through a plastic mesh coffee filter to remove the fine
Mullein hairs. A cup of this decoction sweetened with sugar or
honey is a wonderful remedy for upper respiratory problems, or as
a daily treatment for asthma.